With your own blog, you can control reach, you own the mailing list, you can see the stats of how your blog is helping you grow your business. When people bookmark or share your articles, they’re sharing your brand and everything it stands for.
By hosting your blog on Medium you’re giving up the reigns and most of the benefits of reaching the audience in the first place.
When someone reads your article on Medium, they remember Medium’s branding not yours, Medium’s UX not yours. When someone shares your Medium article, they’re sharing a link to Medium, not to your brand.
But at least with Medium, you’ve got a chance to reach someone.
If you don’t write or publish at all, or if you do publish to a poorly-promoted blog, those chances go to zero (or near-zero, at best).
Brendan points out that Medium’s content promotion algorithms unfairly favor those who already have a big following outside of Medium. Medium often amplifies things that are already popular, and often doesn’t give a fair shake for lesser-known authors to be seen.
Fair enough, that isn’t ideal.
But the same can be true if you post to your own blog.
If I post a quality piece of content to my blog, but do a sub-par job of promoting it, I’m leaving it up to Google to see fit to get the word out and bring people to my doorstep. The chances of that happening are less promising than the chances that someone finds your content on Medium.
The Medium algorithm is aligned with your goals in one important way…
For all it’s flaws, Medium is good at bringing in readers.
People don’t come to Medium looking for your store hours, directions to a destination, concert tickets, or coupon codes. People don’t come to Medium to download music, to shop or to price compare.
People come to Medium to read.
Google’s goals are not always aligned with your goals. People searching a topic on Google may never see your article because the search intent is so much more variable and the search results so much more crowded.
So, let’s be blunt…
Growing a meaningful blog can be hard work. If you’re not ready or willing to put in that work, maybe you’re better off with something like Medium.
If you’re not driving traffic to your blog and taking steps to build your own audience, then Medium is the good-enough option.
If you’re not yet using your blog to boost ROI, add value to the customers you serve, or win mindshare in your niche, Medium can work just fine for you.
If nothing else, by publishing through Medium you’re building a winning habit of writing, editing, publishing, and responding to reader feedback. All while giving your posts a fighting chance of being read.
Instead of throwing a coin in an ocean, perhaps with Medium you’re throwing that coin into a wishing well.
Later, after you’ve developed a corpus of content, after you’ve developed a cadence of regular posts, and after you’ve gathered a modest following on Medium, you can feel free to do what Brendan and Baremetrics and many others have done: claw your content back from Medium and host it on your own platform so you can reap the rewards of being in full control of your audience.
Brendan is absolutely correct that it’s folly to build a business solely on someone else’s platform, but that’s not what I’m advocating here. Medium can be useful as a set of training wheels for your blog.
No, Medium isn’t a great fit for everyone.
The top 20% of great blogs do not belong on Medium. But, maybe the other 80% do.
Stick with Medium until you’ve outgrown it.
Stay on Medium until you have metrics that tell you how moving your content in-house is the right call. Don’t leave Medium before you have a solid plan for how you’re going to surpass their platform with your own, in key areas that matter most to your business.
If you’re not building a business with a well-done blog, then maybe medium is better than rare.